In Now Playing articles PC Gamer writers talk about the game currently dominating their spare time. Today Phil downloads some surreal FC5 maps.
I regret to inform you that I am back on the barrels. I’ll get around to playing Far Cry 5 properly one day, but right now I’m placing explosive barrel on top of explosive barrel, creating a giant, improbable stack on a flat, untextured environment. The original plan was to fill a pit full of explosives and bears, but I quickly hit the limit of how many unsuspecting ursine victims I could stuff into a single grid and things have just escalated since then.
I’ve been a big fan of doing dumb shit in map editors ever since Crysis, and the niche trend of detonating thousands of explosive barrels until your PC crashed. Unfortunately for me, Far Cry 5 is newer and wiser, and seems to have hard limits on the amount of raw explosion that can happen at a given time—almost like it has been designed to not let you set your computer on fire.
Barrels (and grizzly bears) are about as far as my map-editing skills extend. Instead, I relocate to Far Cry 5’s library of custom-made maps. Let’s see what people with actual talent can do.
The first one I download is Terminal, a bounty hunt map created by Ubisoft. Specifically, created by someone at Ubisoft who really loves shipping containers. It’s a pretty cool map—the first part reminiscent of every Call of Duty game that requires you to kill people who are standing around the absurd number of shipping containers. But it’s the second half, as you close in on the map’s sole target, that demonstrates the flexibility of the Far Cry Arcade’s handful of modes.
I can see my target. I know they’re in a small room in the middle of the map. But the door is locked and I can see no way to get in. It takes a few minutes, but I eventually notice the zipline that extends from a building across the map to the roof of the target’s location. I realise this is more a puzzle than a combat challenge: the real trick was finding how to get to the target. I make my way around, and zipline to the roof, opening a hatch and shooting my quarry.
That was neat, but I was expecting something more inventive from one of the editor’s highest-rated maps. Luckily, the next one I try delivers. Upside Down is a ‘Journey’ map, also created by Ubisoft. The aim is to get to the marked waypoint—ostensibly by fighting your way through a map full of heavily armed cultists. Except this map is empty—it’s just a house, full of regular house stuff. I find a hatch and crawl through, and emerge into a room full of floating clocks. Things get weirder from there—as I make my way through a set of surrealist environments that play with direction and orientation in fun ways.
I leave the Ubisoft-dominated featured picks and search for all top-rated Journey maps. Top of the list is Trial of Pyre by Ekizius. It’s a platforming challenge, and so frequently infuriating that it’s probably a good one. The endpoint is the top of a tower not far from your spawn, but getting to it requires parachuting from the top point of a precarious series of ledges and grapple points built into a nearby canyon. I climb a precariously constructed tower, before a mistimed jump dumps me back to the floor. I ragequit immediately.
I could take out my frustration on some bears in Far Cry 5’s actual campaign. But, what’s this? A P.T. inspired map featuring a looping series of spooky corridors? Yeah, go on then. That’ll be an experience.
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Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.